On the mother of men

by Elizabeth Stevens

We float over the Pacific on a raft made of licorice as I cry my absinthe tears. Lilith dangles her feet in the sea, and I drag my teeth across my lip to snag at orange peeled skin. “Should I tell you a story?” she asks. She snacks on candied baby’s breath as she strokes my sugar spun hair. “Give me something real,” I say, cradling my wormwood heart. I whisper, “Tell me something true.” Lilith lolls her head back to stare at a sky dusted with stars. “Once, Eve brought home a box of screws, a table saw, a monkey wrench, an incense stick, and three unhatched eggs - all the ingredients needed to grow some hopes. But Adam’s unsteady spine was never strong enough to hold his own hopes, so how could he allow others to have what he couldn’t carry?” Lilith deepens her voice, channeling Deuteronomy. ‘“What flavor of hope did you want?’ Adam asked her.” My tears dig emerald trails as they streak down my face. “Thunderous and spiked,” I answer, even though the question wasn’t for me, “with chicken feet and feathered floors and four eggshell walls.” The breeze catches Lilith’s unfurled wings and steers us towards deep water. “Eve sawed and screwed and burned until she built all her hopes, some big enough to crawl inside,” she says, “and Adam cried such Levitican tears.” I could sip the hallowed sky through a straw and swallow every star and they would all taste like fennel and grief. I whisper, “Did he even let her bury them once they were dead?”

About the Author

Elizabeth Stevens was born and raised in the Baltimore, Maryland area. She became interested in poetry as a child when her mother bought her a book explaining meter and rhyme. She entered the poetry scene more heavily in college when she became the poetry editor for the university literary magazine. Her writing is heavily influenced by her religious upbringing and the ways it affected her in relation to her gender and sexuality. Tattoos and hair dye are her favorite forms of stress relief.